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Monthly Archives: October 2012
SAS TRAINING REGIME – DEEMED TO BE THE HARDEST ARMY SELECTION PROCESS IN THE WORLD .
SAS EXHIBITION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL …..
IF IN THE AREA (FOREST OF DEAN, GLOUCESTERSHIRE) DO COME VISIT AND SEE OUR OWN UNIQUE AND ALWAYS EXPANDING SAS EXHIBITION WHICH IS NOW PART OF OUR TERRORISM AND COUNTER-TERRORISM COLLECTIONS ON DISPLAY HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL .
PLEASE DO BE AWARE THAT SUCH MATERIAL IS VERY SCARCE TO SOURCE AND OBTAIN … FOR OBVIOUS REASONS. SO PLEASE DO NOT EXPECT TO SEE A MASS OF SUCH EXHIBIT MATERIAL HERE ON DISPLAY . WE ONLY PROVIDE A VERY BRIEF INSIGHT INTO THIS STILL VERY MUCH SECRETIVE BRITISH ARMY UNIT .
Special Air Service
The Special Air Service (SAS) is the principal special forces organisation of the British Army. Formed in 1941 to conduct raids behind German lines in North Africa, with the Long Range Desert Group, it today serves as a model for similar units fielded by many other countries.
The SAS is a small and secretive organisation, but attracts a disproportionate amount of media coverage. It forms part of the United Kingdom Special Forces, alongside the Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR).
The SAS is widely regarded as one of the finest and best trained special forces units in the world.
|Role:||Counter Revolutionary Warfare/Counter Terrorism
(one regiment)Close Target Reconnaissance (two regiments)
|Garrison/HQ:||Hereford (22nd Regiment)
London (21st Regiment)
Wolverhampton (23rd Regiment)
|Colonel in Chief:||Colonel of the Regiment:
General The Rt Hon Charles Ronald Llewellyn (Guthrie), Baron Guthrie, GCB, LVO, OBE, ADC
|Motto:||Who Dares Wins|
Hardest Training in the World: SAS (Special Air Service)
So you might have heard from somewhere that SAS training involves being spun around in a chair blind-folded and then dropped into a pool in the dark where you have to swim to the surface. Is this true? Do the SAS really ‘’shoot to kill’’ and is there any point taking the test when the training motto from their superiors goes like, ‘’we don’t try to fail you – we try to kill you’’?
An SAS trooper has to survive one of the toughest and most rigorous training processes in the world. I want to disperse any myths and go behind enemy lines and into the heart of the SAS training regime.
There are 3 main training stages:
1. Selection: designed to weed out the men who do not have the mental or physical stamina required by the regiment.
2. Jungle training: designed to see whether the men have the tactical and operational skills to function in this elite force under extreme conditions.
3. Survival training: designed to see whether the men can overcome interrogation and learn to survive on their wits and the surrounding environment.
To be considered for selection, a hopeful must have at least three months experience in their own regiment and at least three years left to serve. The selection ordeal will last four weeks, with three build-up weeks and one test week. Many have tried and even more have failed, it’s notoriously tough as you will see.
There are two selections a year, one in winter and the other in summer. The general idea is that you either suffer from hypothermia in winter, or suffer from heat stroke in summer. I’ve always wondered to myself for some twisted reason that if I was to be stranded and left for dead, would I prefer to be stuck in the hot or the cold? For those about to ask themselves the same, I’d take jungle heat and desert dehydration over frost bite and unforgiving icy mountains.
First the recruits go to Stirling Lines, Hereford to have a medical and pass the Body Fitness Test (BFT). 10% fail here. The rest are issued the equipment that they need for selection. Then they are sent out to the steep Brecon Beacon hills, where selection starts and the ‘fun’ really begins.
Selection is simple. Get from point A to B, from point B to C etc, within a set time frame. Start to finish is typically over 10km away. You may not think 10km is a long distance, but strap 50lbs of Bergen (a heavy-duty British Army rucksack) to your back and have a rethink. Another factor is that the distances the soldiers cover gradually increase each day, as do the loads they bear.
Extremely arduous routes are specifically picked to test their mental and physical limits. SAS operations are undertaken with utmost secrecy so patrols avoid using roads and established routes. Training soldiers get up at 4am every morning and use navigational landmarks to make up ground instead, moving with stealth from feature to feature. The ability of the SAS to march long distances carrying heavy loads into battle is legendary. It’s fundamental to the way the regiment operates.
Climbing the hills at Beacon is all about strengthening the mind and character of a person. After a couple of days, the old equipment the soldiers have been given gets going cutting deep into the skin, giving the men crippling blisters and sores. Nobody said it was easy. It takes self determination and self discipline; something that is lost in the work place and in people’s lives these days.
Test week is the next part of selection and consists of six marches, the first five being 17 miles long requiring the soldier to march with the 501b Bergen on his back while map reading. These stiff seven days culminate in the ‘Long Drag’, a 40-mile march which has to be completed in less than 20 hours. Test week teaches the soldiers to break through mental barriers. The idea can be likened to that of a marathon runner. At some point during a race a marathon runner will hit a plateau, where physically they have no reserves left in their body but still fight through and keep on going, such is the strength of their will and determination. The SAS endurance is equivalent to running two marathons. Don’t forget the Bergen.
What’s more and something that is unique to the SAS unlike any other Special Force in the world is that selection is carried out alone. There is nobody in selection shouting encouragement – the soldier is left to motivate themselves. There are no instructors shouting at you to do better, or mates encouraging you not to drop out. The only person forcing you to go through hell is you. Direct Staff (DC’s) simply watch as the soldiers fight to survive. It is no doubt the ultimate way to instil self motivation and to strengthen a person’s will.
2. Jungle training
Jungle training is carried out immediately after selection and it lasts four weeks. The extreme conditions of the jungle make this phase of training one of the most physically demanding for potential recruits. The heat, humidity, insects and wildlife make it a completely inhospitable environment. Carrying barely enough to sustain you for 14 days in the blazing conditions is mind-blowing.
An SAS candidate must mentally and physically overcome shock if he is to survive. It is the true test of mental toughness; not to crack under intense pressure. It is here an SAS prospect receives all the knowledge he needs to fight in the jungle. I suspect those with emotional baggage will not fair too well under the vines especially with the long claustrophobic nights playing havoc with their ability to deal with what is required.
The training soldiers will be wet all the time, even out of the water, due to sweating in the scorching heat. It’s a very strange place the jungle but I sense the reason behind this phase of training is that if you can soldier on in the jungle environment you can be a soldier in any environment.
3. Survival training
The equipment the soldiers carry is crucial to their combat effectiveness. Typically one will carry rations, spare ammunition, spare batteries for radio/torches, night sights and claymores (not the drink although spirits are sometimes used to treat wounds), which have the scary ability to fire 300 metal balls 100 metres shredding everything in their way.
Interrogation is designed to explore the ‘’inner-man’’. It’s not enough being physically as hard as nails if you’re mental and emotional strengths are weak. Unbelievable. This session comes after days and nights of sleep deprivation, nutrient deprivation and physical degradation due to the extreme harsh and unnatural way of living. Showing any emotion in this stage will mean total failure. Add the psychological games the SAS use to induce delirium and the fact that there’s no way of really knowing the darker details without having gone through training yourself and suddenly your and my idea of what the training must be like comes across as a rather irrelevant term for consideration. The SAS train consistently to give them the edge in all contact situations. It’s this level of training that makes a Special Forces unit and the SAS one of the most elite out of all the Special Forces in the world.
Those who survive the selection and training are badged (in a ceremonial moment of anticlimax where the recruit simply swaps his beret.) They are now officically an SAS soldier.
It takes this much to be the best in the world. And it takes much more to remain the best.